After an 11-21 start in his first two years as head coach, Mike Shanahan and the Washington Redskins will need a strong offseason in order to make any sort of noise in a tough NFC East Division in 2012. Shanahan has now finished with back-to-back 4th place finishes. And if they don't improve and finish with at least an 8-8 record or higher, Shanahan's seat could be pretty toasty come the 2013 offseason. As Redskins fans know, team owner Daniel Snyder has not been hesitant when it comes to firing a coach, no matter how much of a name he is.
This year's free agency pool is fairly deep, but let's see what kind of prospects the Redskins could pick up in the draft:
1st Round (1.6): Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
After the Donovan McNabb experiment in 2010 turned out to be a complete failure, Shanahan has had to deal with iffy quarterback play from both Rex Grossman and John Beck. Quarterback is and should be the team's No. 1 priority going into the Draft, I'm just not sure if Griffin is going to fall all the way to the No. 6 spot with the Browns looming at No. 4. There are rumors that the Redskins could try and swing a trade for the Rams' No. 2 spot or the Vikings' No. 3 spot, but giving away a fortune wouldn't be in the best interest for a team that has many other holes to fill.
Washington has already been linked to Peyton Manning, but it's a long shot. Shanahan is a control freak when it comes to his offense and I don't see the two being able to click considering Peyton is almost his own offensive coordinator. Plus, according to one source, it's been "tough" for Peyton to play against his brother Eli in the past. If Matt Flynn gets the franchise tag, the Packers might settle for a package of picks, including the Redskins' 2.7 pick. But again, giving up a fortune for a guy who might or might not pan out as a full-time starter is risky.
Griffin's stock has gone up within the last few hours after he measured in at 6'2/223 pounds at the Combine. His size was said to be one of the bigger reasons why he might fall. But after this news came out, Griffin will likely be the No. 2 quarterback drafted behind Andrew Luck, barring some sort of collapse. If the Redskins can swing a trade without giving up too much, he'd be a strong building block for an offense that needs consistent quarterback play badly.
2nd Round (2.7): Rueben Randle, WR, LSU
If the Redskins trade up in the first round, they will likely have to sacrifice this pick and more to get there. But let's, for the hell of it, say they stay at this spot. Santana Moss and Jabar Gaffney are currently penciled in as the starters, but Moss is getting old and doesn't have the explosiveness that he used to. And Gaffney is, well, Gaffney: a guy who doesn't offer much upside. Last year's third-round pick Leonard Hankerson was on his way to solidifying himself as a starter after racking up 8 catches for 106 yards in Week 10 against the Dolphins last year, but was lost for the rest of the season with a torn labrum in his right hip. Anthony Armstrong has shown he can be a deep threat, but is inconsistent. Right now, Randle projects as a late first rounder. But if he can slip to the second, he could be the heir for Moss' starting job. Randle racked up 97 receptions and 13 touchdowns in three years at LSU, averaging 17.3 ypc in 2011.
3rd Round: (3.6): Harrison Smith, SS, Notre Dame
LaRon Landry is questionable for the 2012 season after suffering a severe Achilles injury that required platelet rich plasma and stem-cell treatments. Considered the best safety prospect at the Senior Bowl by several teams, Smith could be a safety valve if the team winds up letting Landry go to free agency. For now Smith grades out as a second rounder, but could fall to the third.
4th Round: (4.7): Michael Egnew, TE, Missouri
Chris Cooley could be a salary cap casualty with a a cap number of $6.23 million in 2012. Fred Davis is also a free agent, but is expected to either get the transition tag or could possibly be a minor candidate for the franchise tag. If Cooley doesn't restructure his deal and is let go, Egnew is a big body the team could use in two tight end sets and as another redzone target. Egnew totaled 140 receptions between 2010-2011.
4th Round (From Oakland): Jeff Allen, OG, Illinois
Washington's offensive line continued to play inconsistent last year. Pass protection was a big problem and the running game had it's ups and downs. Illinois averaged 4.3 yards a carry in 2011. And in 2010, Allen helped pave the way for Illinois' rushing offense that was No. 1 in the Big Ten and the 11th-best in the nation (246.1 ypg). The team may also look to free agency for upgrades at this position.
5th Round: (5.6): Terrance Ganaway, RB/FB, Baylor
Don't put it past Shanahan to draft yet another running back in one of the later rounds this year. Roy Helu and Evan Royster will be vying for the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, but Shanahan loves competition. For his career, Ganaway rushed 473 times for 2,592 rushing yards and 34 touchdowns.
7th Round (7.6): Terrence Frederick, CB, Texas A&M
DeAngelo Hall is starting to be more known for his mouth than his on-field play. The Redskins could make corner a No. 1 priority and go after LSU's Morris Claiborne, but I still like Frederick with this pick. A tackling machine, he racked up 5 solo tackles against Northwestern in the Meineke Car Care Bowl.